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The Almanac

Holiday Fund 2013

Support your community with a gift to the Holiday Fund | Page 19

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ATHERTON Located on a cul-de-sac, this 3 level home has high ceilings, and distressed hickory floors. Fireplace accented loggia extends from the family room with custom German doors that fully retract into the wall. 5 bedroom suites, including main floor Master. Lower level with media, exercise room and bathroom. 1 bedroom guest house. Las Lomitas schools. $9,980,000

ATHERTON Standing among heritage oaks is a newly built modern interpretation of a Napa Valley-style estate. Registered for LEED platinum, only extremely conscientious construction can produce such luxury and grandeur and also push the limits of technological sophistication and environmental responsibility. Temperature, media, lighting, pool, spa, and security all can be controlled on your smart phone. $9,800,000

LA HONDA 2BR/1BA outstanding retreat like property over 42 ac. Vaulted ceiling, hot tub under the Redwoods. Barn was converted to a full service kitchen, covered outdoor dining pavilion with beautiful river rock fireplace.


2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 13, 2013


Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

The fire at Sims Metal Management scrap yard at 699 Seaport Boulevard led to “shelter in place” warnings.

Officials investigate Sims fire By Sue Dremann Palo Alto Weekly


he Bay Area Air Quality Management District is investigating a fire at a scrap metal recycling facility in Redwood City on Sunday that led to “shelter in place” warnings in the area, including in Atherton and Menlo Park. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had an emergency-response team at the site of the fire, the Sims Metal Management scrap yard at 699 Seaport Boulevard near the Port of Redwood City. The air in Menlo Park and Atherton was filled with foulsmelling, acrid smoke for several hours on Sunday. “We’re definitely smelling the toxic smoke from this fire, and are hunkered down in the house with the windows closed,” a Menlo Park resident posted online Sunday. “Is anyone else getting a headache from it?” Particulate matter — fine particles of materials including smoke — measured 2.5 micrograms Sunday and was at extremely high levels, said Lisa Fasano, spokesperson for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Such small particles are of concern because they can’t be seen and are breathed into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, she said. The actual components of the particulate materials have not been identified, she said. “Oftentimes — and I don’t know if it is the case in this matter — the fires burn so hot that

the materials get burned in the combustion of the fire. The bigger issue is that the particulate matter causes an immediate health risk,” she said. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and respiratory distress. She said the smoke was trapped close to the ground because of an inversion layer, a weather occurrence in which temperature increases with elevation rather than the other way around. Sims Metal, which leases land from the Port of Redwood City, recycles scrap metal, cars, appliances and electronics, and calls itself the largest metals recycling company in the world. In a statement, Sims Metal officials stated the facility was operational and open for business as of Monday morning. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The company stated that it has installed multiple fire hydrants and added and expanded fire lanes and fire access gates to the property in recent years. It also limited the height and quantity of stockpiled material. Company officials stated that the facility is designed to contain storm water, so none of the water used to fight the fire left the property. “We always consider adopting additional corrective measures when recommended,” company officials said. “We also engage in regular fire prevention training, and inspect our facilities on an ongoing basis, implementing corrective measures resulting

from those inspections.” Sims has had several fires at its facilities in recent years. The company has been cited for pollution problems at its Redwood City facility. In April 2007, a large fire of burning crushed cars at the Sims site sent clouds of smoke over neighborhoods east of U.S. 101. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District cited Sims after residue (including toxic polychlorinated byphenyls, known as PCBs, and heavy metals) from the plant drifted into adjacent wetlands, according to an agency incident report. In August of this year, Sims had a huge fire at its Jersey City, New Jersey, facility. The same location had a second fire early in October, according to East Coast news reports. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also halted loading of shredded materials onto container ships by the Redwood City facility in 2011, after inspectors found that PCBs, mercury, lead and other pollutants were spilling into San Francisco Bay, according to an EPA findings report and order. Soils around the facility had high levels of heavy metals and other hazardous substances, EPA officials said at the time. Sunday’s fire

The “shelter in place” health advisory was lifted around 6:20 a.m. Monday, about 17 hours See SIMS FIRE, page 7


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THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright ©2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.


November 13, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN3


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Local News M















Carpenter slate claims seats on fire board By Sandy Brundage

did not foresee any conflict of interest in accepting the union’s endorsement when they would last-minute candidate’s later be voting on contracts, and move to avoid having a accepted campaign support. majority of union-endorsed The county elections office members on the Menlo Park Fire reported Mr. Carpenter had Protection District’s board of received 4,395 votes, Mr. Berndirectors worked, judging by the stein, 4,096, and Mr. Ianson, outcome of the Nov. 5 election. 3,950. Out of the running were The fire district serves Atherton, Mr. Nelson with 3,534 votes and Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Ms. Clarke with 3,226. nearby unincorporated areas. Mr. Bernstein, who was still The district and firefighters knocking on doors in Menlo Park have been embroiled in a years- and East Palo Alto the night of long impasse over their contract, the election, attributed his win with the two parties fighting to hard work, endorsements and over how much of a being on the right salary increase the side of the union firefighters should issue. Carpenter, get. The issue came “The union Bernstein, to a head during already has one side this year’s election Ianson opposed of the table and, when former direcfor them to try to tor Peter Carpenter candidates backed dominate the resijumped into the dents’ side, is asking by union. race 24 hours before for too much,” Mr. the deadline to run as a slate with Bernstein said. “I think people newcomer Chuck Bernstein and who are deeply involved as well incumbent Rex Ianson; all three as people who are uninvolved candidates said they would not can see the problem with this.” accept any labor union endorseMr. Carpenter said he’d ment or campaign assistance. already received congratulaThe other two candidates, tions from union members the newcomer Carolyn Clarke and morning after the election, and incumbent Jack Nelson, said they that he was “optimistic that we

Almanac Staff Writers


Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Menlo Park fire district board candidate Peter Carpenter and his wife Jane are pleased with voting results on election night at the Dutch Goose in Menlo Park. Carpenter led a slate of three candidates who won election over two union-backed contenders.

can move to rebuild trust and mutual respect.” When asked for their thoughts on the outcome, Ms. Clarke said she had no comment and Mr. Nelson did not respond.

Aside from the question of union endorsement, the candidates have broad goals in common and somewhat similar backgrounds. All want to keep the district’s financial stability and

high level of service, and settle the contract dispute. With the exception of Ms. Clarke, the candidates have extensive experience, whether professional or volunteer, in emergency preparedness. A

Relative unknown wins landslide council victory By Renee Batti Almanac News Edito


therton voters gave political newcomer Rick DeGolia a giant thumbsup on election day, with 62 percent of them backing his bid for a one-year term on the City Council to fill the seat left vacant by Jerry Carlson’s July resignation. “My name was not known when I started (the campaign), but I built a very strong relationship to a lot of people,” Mr. DeGolia told the Almanac when asked about his sweeping victory in the three-candidate race. The lack of name recognition is understandable: Before January, Mr. DeGolia hadn’t served on a single town committee or commission, and before the November 2012 election, hadn’t participated significantly in the town’s often-polarized political arena.


By contrast, one opponent — Greg Conlon — has not only served on town committees for nearly 10 years, but also came in a close third in a race for two council seats last year. The county Elections Office late last week reported Mr. DeGolia winning 1,066 votes (62.2 percent); Mr. Conlon, 357 Rick DeGolia votes (20.8 percent); and Diane Sandhu, also a relative newcomer to town civic affairs, 290 votes (17 percent). The county will update those figures on Nov. 12, according to the Elections Office website. Political observers are cer-

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Park Theatre building razed The old Park Theatre building on El Camino Real in Menlo Park was torn down last week. From 1947, when it opened, to 2002, when it closed, the theater was a local movie venue for generations of local residents. The razing followed a sale the previous weekend of items from the theater, with marquee letters proving most popular. Although owner Howard “Sandy” Crittenden said late last year that he planned to build office and retail on the site, located at 1275 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, he told the Almanac last week that he now plans to sell the property and use the proceeds to buy something outside the city.


November 13, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5



Almanac launches Holiday Fund drive

T 4420 Alpine Rd., Portola Valley phone 650.851.1711

3015 Woodside Rd., Woodside phone 650.851.1511

Roberts Market Thanksgiving Menu Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Roasted Diestel Turkey 10-12 lb., Traditional Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Green Bean Almandine, Cranberry Sauce, Dinner Rolls and a Good Earth Pumpkin Pie. Serves up to 8 people $120.00 Note: Please allow 2 hours to reheat a roasted Diestel turkey

Bake Brie, Stuffed with Cranberry chutney and baked to a golden brown. $15.00 each Pumpkin & Butternut Squash soup, Savory with a hint of curry and cream. $11.00 per Qt

he Almanac is launching its annual Holiday Fund drive this week with a goal of raising $175,000 from readers and supporting foundations. Since it was launched in 1993 the Holiday Fund drive has raised more than $3 million for local nonprofits that serve those less fortunate in our com-

Lehman losses: County settles for $5.2 million By Renee Batti

Free Range Diestel Ranch Turkeys, The Diestel turkeys are pre-roasted and will need

Almanac News Editor

approximately 2 hours to re-heat at 300° in your oven.


Small 10-12 lbs. serves 8 to 10 people - $55.00 Large 16-18 lbs. serves 14 to 16 people - $65.00

Traditional Stuffing, Mushrooms, onion, celery, water chestnuts, and sage: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt

Cornbread Stuffing, Dried cranberries, apricots, and green onion: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt Mashed Potatoes, Fresh potatoes whipped with cream, and butter: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Rich and creamy made with turkey drippings: $13.50 Qt and $7.00 pt

Onion Sage Gravy, with red wine, caramelized and onion and sage: $13.50 Qt and $7.00 pt Green Bean Almandine, Sautéed shallots, butter and almonds: $13.00 Qt and $6.75 pt Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Seasoned with brown sugar, spices and candied walnuts: $13.00 Qt and $6.75 pt

Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Whole cranberries slow cooked with a hint of orange: $9.50 Qt and $5.00 pt

Good Earth Bakery Pumpkin Pie, 8" pie serves 8 people $12.99 each Gianna's Bakery, Apple, Sweet Peach $15.99, 4 Berry $16.99, Pecan $19.59 each 8" pies serves 8 people

Please place orders by Monday, Nov. 25th and pick up by Wednesday, Nov 27th

Meat Department Order your fresh Diestel Turkey for the holidays.

Wine and Spirits Pinot-palooza

munity. Last year $162,000 was raised, meaning 10 nonprofit agencies each received a check for more than $16,000. And due to support from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, no fees are deducted from gifts to the Holiday Fund. Visit or see Page 19 for more information.

an Mateo County will receive the lion’s share of a $9.6 million settlement to be paid by a handful of former Lehman Brothers investment bank officers, but the county’s $5.2 million portion represents only a sliver of the $155 million total loss suffered by public agencies in the county, including school districts, when the investment giant declared bankruptcy in 2008. The settlement concluded a legal process begun in 2009 when eight plaintiffs, including San Mateo County and the city of Burbank, sued in federal court to recoup massive losses resulting from the bankruptcy. The lawsuit accused Lehman Brothers officers of intentionally misleading investors about the bank’s risk-management policies, leverage and real estate holdings. Among the defendants were Lehman’s chairman and CEO, the chief financial officer, the president and chief operating officer, and five former directors. Among public agencies in the county that lost money were school districts, which were required to deposit their bond revenue and other working funds into the county’s investment pool.

Among those hit hard were the Sequoia Union High School District, which lost about $6.5 million, and the Menlo Park City School District, which lost about $4 million. The Las Lomitas district lost almost $400,000, the Portola Valley district lost nearly $150,000, and the Woodside district, nearly $100,000. As of late last year, the county had recovered about $15.2 million from asset distribution payments, County Counsel John Beiers told the Almanac in October 2012. The county expects to recover at least 22 percent in coming years, and “we’re still hopeful it’ll be somewhere between 25 percent and 30 percent of the total loss,” Mr. Beiers said. Staff from the county manager’s office and the treasurer’s office could not be reached to ascertain what the recovery figure is now. The recovered funds are distributed proportionally among the county’s agencies, based on their losses. In addition to the $9.6 million pay-out to the eight plaintiffs, the settlement awarded the plaintiffs’ attorney fees of nearly $1 million to Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy, according to Marshall Wilson, the county’s communications director. A

Few wines have the adaptability of Pinot Noir. As we hurtle towards the holidays, this is an excellent time to stock up on wines. Here are a few fine examples offered at special prices.

2012 Bench Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2011 Evening Land Pinot Noir, Willametto Valley 2011 Melville Pinot Noir, Estate - Sta Rita Hills 2011 Hartford Court Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2012 Failla Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast


16.99 Reg. $25.99 Sale 21.99 $ Reg. $31.99 Sale 26.99 $ Reg. $34.99 Sale 29.99 $ Reg. $35.99 Sale 30.99 Reg. $19.99


Sale prices are net and do not qualify for further discount.


Support The Almanac’s coverage of our community.

6NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 13, 2013



School districts prepare to re-create campuses with bond measure passage By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


wo overcrowded school districts serving kids in Menlo Park and Atherton will get a significant boost in funding to build new facilities and modernize existing buildings thanks to voters who supported bond measures by more than 70 percent margins. The two-school Las Lomitas School District successfully pushed a $60 million bond measure — Measure S — to build new two-story buildings, eliminate 18 portable classrooms, and renovate existing buildings at Las Lomitas (K-3) in Atherton and La Entrada (4-8) in Menlo Park. In the Menlo Park City School District, which has three elementary schools and a middle school, voters overwhelmingly supported Measure W, which will raise $23 million to build a fifth campus in Menlo Park. The new school will be built on a district-owned site in the Willows neighborhood, where the district had operated O’Connor School until closing it

and leasing the campus, beginning in 1991, to the GermanAmerican International School. Both bond measures needed 55 percent approval to pass. Late last week, the county Elections Office reported the following results: Measure W passed by nearly 75 percent, with 3,756 yes votes, and 1,261 no votes. Measure S passed with 73.5 percent approval; 2,088 voters supported it, with 753 opposed. The county will release updated figures on Nov. 12, according to the Elections Office website. The Las Lomitas district estimates that property owners’ Measure S assessment will be $30 annually per $100,000 of taxable property. According to the school board, the payments would likely be ongoing through 2045. The Menlo Park district estimates that the 25-year, $23 million bond will cost district property owners an average of $8.70 per $100,000 of assessed value, and district leaders have said they’re aiming for a single-series current interest bond issue. No one submitted ballot argu-

by Samia Cullen

Flood Insurance Rates Rise

ments against either measure. Both school districts have been overwhelmed by enrollment increases that far exceeded projections based on consultant studies done more than 10 years ago. In the Menlo Park district, each elementary school campus opened the school year with a new portable building; all of those schools have enrollments that exceed their capacity. Based on earlier studies, the district had expected enrollment to plateau around 2015, but the latest study shows enrollment continuing to grow through at least 2022. Since 2000, enrollment has grown by 40 percent, according to district officials. Measure W will fund construction of a school for thirdto fifth-graders coming from the K-2 program at nearby Laurel School in Atherton. The district plans to open the new school in 2016. Enrollment in the Las Lomitas district has also risen 40 percent in the last decade, and the increase is expected to continue, according to school officials.

Last year Congress passed the BiggertWaters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (“Biggert-Watersâ€?) that made major changes to the ood insurance premiums many homeowners pay. Under the new law, owners must pay the full-risk rate, the rate that accurately reects the full risk of being ooded without government subsidies. Previously, the government subsidized the insurance of many homes and insurance rates were based on older ood maps showing lower risk. Provisions of BiggertWaters require the National Flood Insurance Program to raise insurance rates for some older properties in high-risk areas to reect true ood risk. The bill went into effect on Oct. 1, 2013. Homeowners in some of the hardest hit areas saw their ood insurance premiums increase drastically. Therefore homes in the FEMA Flood Hazard Zones sold after October 1, 2013 will have full-risks rates. Buyers who are taking a loan to buy a property will be required by lenders to buy ood insurance and will be paying substantially more for

ood insurance than the current sellers. In addition if the property is located in a ood zone, unless provided by the seller, buyer will have to provide the insurance company an elevation certiďŹ cate to ensure that the premium accurately reects the ood risk by either a) asking the local oodplain manager if the property’s elevation information is on ďŹ le and in which case the oodplain manager can issue an elevation certiďŹ cate or b) hiring a surveyor at a cost of around $750 to conduct a survey and issue the elevation certiďŹ cate. A bipartisan bill, the ‘Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act’ was introduced recently to delay further implementation of some rate increases in Biggert-Waters Act. This will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to complete an affordability study that was mandated by Biggert-Waters and propose targeted regulations to address any affordability issues found in the study. Contact your ood insurance agent for further details.

If you have a real estate question or would like a free market analysis for your home, please call me at 650-384-5392, Alain Pinel Realtors, or email me at For the latest real estate news, follow my blog at

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Commission wraps up specific plan review By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


t took five meetings of latenight discussion, but the Menlo Park Planning Commission has finished going over the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan. The commission will take a look at the summary of its actions during its Nov. 18 meeting before passing along its recommendations to the City Council. No major changes are suggested. Discussion on Nov. 4 focused on prioritizing the open space features of the plaza at Middle Avenue over vehicular access to the mixeduse development Stanford University proposes to build, and pushing the city to figure out how to fund desired infrastructure incorporated into the specific plan, such as a pedestrian-bicycle tunnel under the tracks at Middle Avenue to Burgess Park. The Nov. 18 meeting will start at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center, located at 701 Laurel St. SIMS FIRE continued from page 3

after the fire was reported burning in an outdoor pile of scrap recylables. Menlo Park district and Red-

to review the staff report. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.


Nativity School parking Whether to eliminate street parking along northbound Laurel Street between Oak Grove and Glenwood avenues will be taken up by the Menlo Park Transportation Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 13. City staff is recommending the commissioners sign off on the elimination, but parents with children attending the private K-8 Nativity School at 1250 Laurel St., as well as school administrators, are protesting the plan. While city staff suggests the removal will make bicycle travel along the street safer, Nativity parents say it will make dropping off and picking up their children more hazardous. City staff is also proposing the city make pedestrian crossing improvements at the intersection of Laurel Street and Oak Grove Avenue by restricting right turns on red and giving people more time to cross the street. Go to wood City firefighters responded to the fire, which was deemed under control around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, but firefighters were still working at the site Monday. No injuries were reported and no evacuations were necessary. A

Shell station closes The Shell gas station at 1400 El Camino Real is now fenced off in preparation for removing its fuel tanks, as the owner has decided to stop selling gas. An update from the city of Menlo Park on Nov. 7 stated than an independent auto repair shop on the site has moved to 1279 El Camino Real. City staff had no further information about what the gas station’s owner plans to do with his property. A

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November 13, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN7


Relative unknown wins landslide council victory continued from page 5

tain to be watching how Mr. DeGolia’s presence on the dais will affect how effectively the five-person council functions during the next year. All three candidates criticized the council for not being able to conduct the town’s business in a more collaborative and civil manner. An example of how divided the council has been: All three candidates were among seven who applied in July for appointment to Mr. Carlson’s vacant seat. The council had hoped to avoid an election because it would mean that a seat would be vacant for five months, and that the winner of the race would have only one year to serve before having to run again. But after failing in a series of votes to agree on a single candidate, council

members were forced to call an election. Mayor Elizabeth Lewis and Cary Wiest supported Mr. DeGolia; Jim Dobbie and Bill Widmer held fast to their vote for John Ruggeiro. During his campaign, Mr. DeGolia touted his skills, honed from years of experience on corporate and nonprofit boards, to interact well and effectively with others and to work toward consensus. Mr. DeGolia may have to give up his membership on the town’s Community Center Advisory Committee, which he was appointed to in January, marking his first foray into civic involvement as a volunteer committee member. He serves as vice chair of that committee and also as chair of the CCAC’s library subcommittee. Members of the CCAC have been

studying options for building a new Town Center, using mostly private funds. He told the Almanac that prior to becoming involved in the

‘I think what the CCAC has done (in sponsoring the meetings) is a model of how we need to reach out to people in Atherton. It’s kind of a town hall concept.’ RICK DEGOLIA

town, he had focused primarily on family, work, and service on nonprofit boards. Mr. DeGolia worked for 11 years as a partner in the law

firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. He currently serves as a board member and governance committee chair of the Cleantech Open, which supports “clean technology” startups; and as an advisory board member of the nonprofit Clean Coalition. An advocate of getting more residents involved in town government, Mr. DeGolia pointed to a series of recent outreach meetings held in residents’ homes to provide information and seek input from residents about what they’d like to see in the planned Town Center. “I think what the CCAC has done (in sponsoring the meetings) is a model of how we need to reach out to people in Atherton,” he said. “It’s kind of a town hall concept.” Mr. DeGolia said another top

priority is to “bring a stronger focus to the needs of young families and of older residents,” noting that the number of parents with young children continues to rise, increasing the need for the town to accommodate that population. One way to accomplish that is to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, he said, with a priority on creating safe routes to school and better ways for people on bikes and on foot to cross El Camino Real. Mr. DeGolia will be sworn in to office at the council’s regular December meeting. A LET’S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at


Book fair

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148 Hawthorne Ave, Palo Alto, CA San Francisco ‡ Oakland ‡ Danville ‡ Marin ‡ Palo Alto ‡ San Mateo ‡ Los Gatos 8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 13, 2013

More then 6,000 books have been donated and will be on sale during the La Entrada Used Book Fair, open to the community from Tuesday, Nov. 12, through Friday, Nov. 15. The hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the middle school’s multi-use room, across from the school office, at 2200 Sharon Road in Menlo Park. There will be children’s picture books, board books, books for young readers and teens, adult fiction, science fiction, mysteries and cookbooks. Most are priced from $1 to $5. Cash and checks only are accepted. All proceeds go to the PTA.

Mitch Albom Mitch Albom, author of such bestsellers as “Tuesdays with Morrie,” will talk about his new book, “The First Phone Call from Heaven,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. It’s a story of a small Midwestern town whose residents begin to get phone calls from the departed. The book is described as “equal parts mystery, love story, and an allegory about the power of belief.” Tickets at $40 cover one copy of the book and premium seating. General seating at $20 does not include the book. Books will be available for purchase at the event.


Derwin: ‘Great day for community’ â–

Hours: 7am-7pm

Candidates Richards, Derwin and Hughes are elected.

Socialization 24 hour supervision Indoor/outdoor play areas And much more!

By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer


he community of Portola Valley was the winner in the outcome of the Nov. 5 Town Council election, said re-elected incumbent Councilwoman Maryann Moise Derwin at a party on election night. “It’s a great day in Portola Valley for history, the environment, an inclusive culture and community spirit,� Ms. Derwin said in an interview. She credited her supporters, including those at the party, to winning her third four-year term on the council. Ms. Derwin and fellow incumbent John Richards and challengers Craig Hughes and Bud Eisberg ran for three open seats on the council. The latest results from the San Mateo County Elections Office show the winners were Mr. Richards with 785 votes, Ms. Derwin with 784 and Mr. Hughes with 759. Mr. Eisberg was out of the running with 467 votes. The town also passed Measure Q, which keeps the utility users tax at 4.5 percent for four years. To Mayor Richards, who will be starting his second term on the council, the fact that election was contested was a trial. Comments and analysis by voters, either online or in print, made for some uncomfortable reading, and there was the competitive aspect. “I didn’t like it,� he said. “It naturally puts you in opposition to the other people you’re running against.� But he said he heard from

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Celebrating victory in the election for three seats on the Portola Valley City Council are, from left, candidate Craig R. Hughes, Planning Commissioner and supporter Alex Von Feldt, incumbent Maryann Moise Derwin, incumbent Mayor F. John Richards and his wife Sharon Richards. They gathered at a Nov. 5 election party at the Hughes home.


constituents who made a special trip to the polls just to vote for him. “That was the upside of it,� he said. “People came out and gave you support whether you deserved it or not. Hopefully, we’re deserving.� Mr. Hughes interpreted the election results as indicative of voters’ preference for the town to continue on its current path: environmental sensitivity, active and efficient government, and a participant in regional affairs. “People made a decision on what they wanted

for the town, not who they liked,� Mr. Hughes said. Mr. Hughes had prepared a printed mailer, but it was printed too late to make in into mailboxes by election day. “You couldn’t just hit send,� he said in an amused comparison to his working world of software development. His remedy: He and some colleagues walked around to the homes of likely voters and others, about 1,000 households, and hand-delivered the mailer. Asked for comment, Mr. Eisberg replied by email: “I ran a low-key, upfront, self-financed campaign and did not throw any darts at the others.�


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Karate teacher pleads no contest to molestation By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writers


child molestation case that began nearly a year ago ended with Ralph â&#x20AC;&#x153;Eugeneâ&#x20AC;? Todd III, 32, of Menlo Park, pleading no contest on Nov. 7 to felony charges of molestation and possessing child pornography. The former karate instructor was arrested on Dec. 19, 2012, for allegedly fondling a 9-yearold student during a private lesson, police said. He had taught at the Kimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tae Kwon Do Academy in Woodside Plaza for 12 years. When police searched his home, they allegedly found child pornography on his computer, according to the

San Mateo County district attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office, and arrested him again on Feb. 5. Attorney Ryan McHugh, a former prosecutor representing the defendant, first asked the court to dismiss the charges against his client. When San Mateo County SuperiPhoto: San Mateo or Court Judge County Sheriffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office Barbara Mal- Ralph Todd III lach declined to do so, Mr. Todd then pleaded no contest in exchange for a sentence of no more than three years, eight months in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12.

The court granted the defense request that Mr. Todd be released on his own recognizance, subject to certain conditions â&#x20AC;&#x201D; that he break no laws; that he cooperate with the probation department as needed; and that he attend future court proceedings, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Any breach would invalidate the plea bargain and allow the court to impose up to the maximum sentence possible. These conditions, called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kemp conditions,â&#x20AC;? are unique to San Mateo County and are named for now retired Judge Margaret Kemp, Mr. Wagstaffe said. Mr. Toddâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attorney was not immediately available for comment. A

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Atherton parcel tax opposition fizzles By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


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pposition to Measure X — Atherton’s parcel taxrenewal measure on last week’s ballot — failed to gather steam, judging by the election results that showed nearly 74 percent of voters in support. The measure needed a twothirds majority vote to pass. With its passage, the tax of $750 annually for typical homeowners will be renewed for four more years after the current tax expires June 30, 2014. The vote count as of late last week was 1,332 in favor, 477 opposed. The county will update election tallies again on Nov. 12, according to the Elections Office. The tax has been in place since 1980, according to the town. Four years ago, it was renewed by 77.4 percent of voters. With no commercial tax base, the town has relied heavily on the parcel tax, which raises about $1.8 million annually. The revenue supports police services, which receive 60 percent, and public works projects, which get the remainder. A group of residents had submitted a ballot argument opposed to Measure X, but missed the deadline, so no opposition argument appeared

in the voters’ guide publication. That group included former City Council member Kathy McKeithen and Sandy Crittenden, who argued, among other things, that the town no longer needs the tax because of everrising property tax revenue. “I believe that the property tax revenue is going to continue to increase, and they’ll be able to take care of all the expenses of the town,” Mr. Crittenden told the Almanac before the election. But supporters argued that the town has deferred public works projects that should be undertaken now that its financial health has significantly improved. Some of these projects are urgent, they say, including stabilization and improvement of the Marsh Road Channel at a projected cost of between $2.11 million and $2.86 million. Also, they argued, the City Council has to set the tax rate every year, up to the maximum allowed by the voter-approved measure. Several council members have talked publicly about the possibility of suspending the tax or lowering the rate at times when it appears the town has sufficient funds to provide services and perform needed public works projects in the following fiscal year. A

Pollioni to join incumbents on Woodside school board By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


hen incumbents Wendy Warren Roth and Marc Tarpenning take the oath of office next month to serve another four years on the Woodside Elementary School District board, PTA stalwart Claire Pollioni will be alongside them to be sworn in for her first term on the five-member board. Ms. Pollioni, the mother of four children currently attending Woodside Elementary School, came in a close third place in the four-person race for three seats on the board. A member of the school’s PTA since 2005, she now is a vice president. In addition to that service, she participated on the district’s Facilities Committee as a liaison from the PTA board, she said. Robert Hooper, who taught school for more than 20 years in the Montebello Unified School

District in Southern California, was the fourth candidate. The latest results from the county Elections Office are: Marc Tarpenning, 430 votes (28 percent); current board president Wendy Warren Roth, 424 votes (27.5 percent); Ms. Pollioni, 411 votes (26.7 percent); and Mr. Hooper, 274 votes (17.8 percent). The Elections Office will update the figures on Nov. 12, according to its website. Ms. Pollioni said her years of experience as a parent volunteer in the one-school district “have prepared me for the issues and challenges typically faced by the board.” She joined the Facilities Committee to be part of the district’s discussion of safety improvements and modernization of the campus, she said, and gained valuable insights into the district’s facilities needs. The district, which serves about 450 students in preschool through eighth grade, has been See SCHOOL BOARD, page 14


by Ranjini Raghunath



giftto remember

napkins, tote bags, towels, bath n today’s digital world, items and bedding to little baby Evites and email exchanges accessories and silverware. Anyhave taken over for paper thing that’s in the store can be cards and personalized statiomonogrammed,” Gibbons said. nery, making people miss out Gibbons and Durban opened on something that’s “tactile,” Bespoke Home two years ago, according to Palo Alto resident after they moved to the Bay Area Lisa Willis. after living in London and New “It’s so much more memorable York and “didn’t find many places to have something physical and to buy fun and interesting gifts.” hand-made,” she said. Bespoke Home’s customers It was this fascination with the want to give their loved ones hand-made that inspired Wilgifts that are “special and memlis — a former graphic designer cial message to a holiday gift usually ready for pick-up in For smaller items — statio- orable,” Gibbons said. “We have — to start her own antique let- will make it unique. three to four days. nery, smartphone cases, book- people walking in with Excel terpress printing business, aptly “The fact that you took the “That time increases as we marks and such — Cranberry spreadsheets now, shopping for titled “Missive,” in 2008. time to personalize it makes it get closer to the holidays, of Scoop in Menlo Park has a few the holidays.” Using a trio of antique let- special,” Colin Jenkins, owner course,” he said. offerings. “Most people know what they terpress machines — including of gift store Occasions, Etc., Planning and order- are looking for,” Jenkins, of a 100-year old, 2,000-pound said. “There’s an old saying in ing ahead — months Occasions, Etc., said. He has, behemoth — she prints and this business: ‘If you put somein advance, sometimes however, seen his share of cussells personalized stationery, art body’s name on something, — are needed as per- tomers from the other end of the prints and invitations. Her col- they’ll never throw it away.’” sonalizing gifts can take spectrum, too. lection includes greeting cards Jenkins’ Menlo Park store anywhere from three “A lot of the time, people just for various occasions: from sells personalized gifts for all days for apparel to six come in, pick something and go, holiday cards with vintage fonts occasions — “from cradle to weeks for custom jew- ‘Hey, this will work.’ It’s kind of printed on 100 percent soft grave,” as he put it. His wife, elry, depending on the sad,” he said. “Anything personcotton paper to “just because” Carrie, initially made and sold type and design. alized is special, and all it takes cards made of recycled kraft engraved sports trophies out of “We have clients who is two trips: You have to come in paper. their home, 20 years ago. have already done their and order, and then come and “It’s completely Although plaques Christmas shopping by get it.” N custom-made, but and trophies now, but we also have there’s also a colstill occupy a Occasions, Etc., in Menlo Park offers items that some come in on Dec. Local stores with lection of items corner of the can be personalized. 19,” Molly Gibbons, personalized gift options on our website downtown co-owner of Palo Alto Cards and stationery that can be perstore, holiday monogram store Bespoke Missive ( sonalized with b e s t- s e l l e r s Select items such as kitchen Home, said. “We try to accom- Letter Perfect ( font, color, fill the front: and glassware can also be found modate everyone, but the earlier Paperwhirl ( Cranberry Scoop (www.thecranberryscoop. etc.,” Willis n e w b o r n at stores such as Beau-coup they come, the better.” said. baby T-shirts Favors in Mountain View or Gibbons’ Town and Country com) “In the that spell out Emily Joubert in Woodside, Village store — co-owned by Apparel, photo frames, trophies past, for let“ i P o o ’ d ” while Letter Perfect in Palo Alto friend Abby Durban — stocks Occasions, Etc. ( terpress, and “Goo- and Paperwhirl in Los Altos a wide range of home wares and Home and kitchenware everything goo,” “First offer custom printing options gifts that can be monogrammed Bespoke Home (www.bespokehomeshop. had to be C h r i s t - for holiday cards. or customized: from $20 terry com) Michelle Le typeset,” Wilmas” photo For someone with a bigger hol- beach towels to $1,295 Italian Beau-coup Favors ( Missive of Palo Alto creates custom lis explained. frames for iday budget, getting customized briarwood poker sets. Glassware cards using a letterpress. “Nowadays, it new parents, jewelry is another option. “We have everything from Emily Joubert ( is more flexible. custom-emLockets, charm bracelets, penAny design you draw up can be broidered holiday stockings and dants — most jewelry can be set made into a printing plate.” jewelry boxes engraved with to a specific design or color, or What started as a creative out- memorable dates. engraved with names and dates, let from her corporate job soon “We even bronzed a bagel for according to Carol Young, jewturned into a “family thing,” someone once because it was a eler at Darren McClung Jewelry Friday Nov. 15th | 11 – 6 with her software-engineer hus- special thing between her and on Welch Road, Stanford. band pitching in to manage their her brother,” Jenkins said. “We recently had someone get ANN MARIE MURRAY Treasure Island studio, while she Most of the engraving, a custom-made bypass ring set works on the designs at her Palo embroidery and printing is with his children’s birthstones Cottage industry hand Alto home. done at the store, and gifts are for his wife,” she said. painted porcelain by Letterpress printing appealed to Willis because the products Ann Marie Murray were “beautiful and hand-made, as opposed to everything you see today that’s just digital, done Friday Nov. 22nd | 11 – 6 really quickly and missing that JAN BARBOGLIO hand-made element,” she said. In the last few years, Willis Rugged and Exotic has seen many such letterpress ★ 29 YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG ★ Iron and Glass Work – studios crop up across the counA place where horses and humans can come together try, reflecting a growing trend to learn and benefit from each other. Gift with purchase in holiday shopping towards 2013 Horsemanship Winter Camps hand-made and personalized rather than “mass-produced,” Dec. 23, 24, 26, 27 Best Nursery she said. Dec. 30, 31; Jan. 2, 3 “People are starting to look 3130 Alpine Road Diverse Lesson Program for something that is made with 2013 $AYSA7EEKs%VENINGS (OLIDAYS Portola Valley care.” 3AFEAND+IND,ESSON(ORSES With off-the-shelf gifts a dime 650.854.3850 a dozen at every store, simply 725 Portola Rd., Portola Valley adding a name, a date or a spe(650) 851-1114


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Sharon Heights debate focuses on heritage trees By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writers


f a proposed development in Menlo Park involves trees, the level of public interest goes up a notch. If it involves heritage trees being cut down, it jumps up several notches, as demonstrated at the Nov. 4 meeting of the Planning Commission. The commission is weighing whether to recommend allowing the owners of a Sharon Heights apartment complex to make improvements to the property that would require removing 145 trees, 62 of which count as heritage trees. The complex, Sharon Green at 350 Sharon Park Drive, has 459 trees on the nearly 16-acre site. Representatives for the owner, BRE FMCA, said the property would end up with 186 more trees than it has, as the owner would plant mature replacements in addition to building a new recreation center and 2,000-square-foot leasing office and making improvements throughout the complex that include a new dog park, bocce ball court and barbecue courtyard. Construction, to be done in phases, would start in about eight months. Project representatives told the commission the improvements were necessary, citing as an example the cramped quarters of the current leasing office, which shares space with the clubhouse, fitness center and maintenance department. The new leasing office would be more visible to prospective tenants. The heart of the matter, however, as the BRE spokesman noted, was the tree removal. Many of the trees slated for cutting were planted in the 1960s, before ordinances were in place regarding minimum spacing and other elements that contribute to tree health.

Residents both spoke at the meeting and emailed city staff to protest cutting down the heritage trees, which some said gave the complex “a park-like setting.” Others questioned the lack of access for those with disabilities as well as the level of site maintenance provided by BRE for the existing buildings, where rent for a two-bedroom apartment runs around $4,000 a month. The apartments predate the Americans with Disabilities Act, project representatives said, and the cost of retrofitting the buildings with features such as elevators would be infeasible. As for the trees: According to the staff report, arborists contracted by the city evaluated the site and indicated that 50 trees should be removed anyway for poor condition. The rest would have construction or structural impacts, partly as a result of being planted too close to buildings. Commissioner Henry Riggs noted that, whatever the maintenance history, BRE was about to invest “a significant amount of money” that could lead to improved buildings. “And I hope that the neighborhood is better for it.” In the end, the commission voted 5-0, with Katherine Strehl and John Onken absent, to continue the item to a future meeting. Staff was asked to research the reasons for each heritage tree’s removal and whether other tweaks could be made, such as relocating trash pick-up off a public street. Commissioner Vince Bressler said that his expectation was that the number of heritage tree removals will be greatly reduced when the item returns. Otherwise, he said, there would “probably be a problem.” He said that didn’t mean the applicant could not pursue the removals, but would have to turn to a different process. A

Speakers Ann N. Leung, MD

Arthur W. Sung, MD

Bill W. Loo, Jr., MD, PhD

Heather A. Wakelee, MD

SCHOOL BOARD continued from page 12

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studying campus modernization options, and early next year, the school board is likely to finalize plans to put a bond measure before voters in the spring. The estimated cost of the modernization project is about $16 million, but an effort is underway to raise a significant portion of the money through private donations to minimize the amount of bond revenue that will be needed.

Ms. Pollioni said she would support a bond measure “based on the discussions and information presented at (Facilities Committee) meetings, and the potential for Woodside School to represent the best in 21stcentury learning if the facilities come to fruition.” The board member-elect worked in human resources and as a risk manager for the Wilbur-Ellis Co. from 1996 to 2001, and served on its board of directors from 1999 to 2009, she said. A

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Sequoia incumbents re-elected By Dave Boyce

N EL EC TI O N 2013

Almanac Staff Writer

For Unexpired Term Ending in February 2014

The Planning Commission participates in the administration of the planning laws and policies of the Town. It is responsible for recommending to the Town Council ordinances and resolutions necessary to implement the General Plan and adopted development policy. The Commission also conducts necessary public hearings to administer the planning laws and policies of the Town and acts upon applications for zoning amendments, conditional use permits, variances, subdivisions, and other related functions as may be assigned by the Council. The Planning Commission meets on the first and third Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Interested residents may request information and applications Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.12 noon and 1-5:00 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office, Town Hall, 2955 Woodside Road, on the Town’s web site at, What’s New, or by telephoning (650) 851-6790. Deadline for applications is Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 5:00 p.m.


urging enrollment and dramatic changes in curriculum are among the challenges facing incumbents Alan Sarver and Chris Thomsen, who were re-elected Nov. 4 to four-year terms on the board of the Sequoia Union High School District. In a three-way race for two seats, challenger Georgia Jack finished a close third. Mr. Sarver received 15,222 votes, Mr. Thomsen, 14,254, and Ms. Jack, 13,841. “A pretty competitive election night,” said Mr. Sarver. “It was what I expected.” Mr. Thomsen had a similar take. “It was a close race and I’m personally grateful for all the support I received,” he said. “I think (Ms. Jack) ran a very effective campaign, made lots of connections in the community and had a groundswell of support.” Ms. Jack said there was nothing she would have done differently. “We analyzed the field, we put together a group of eight

people who are very hard working and very smart, and we put together a plan and we implemented it,” she said. She critiqued news reporting: “I would like to see the journalists do more investigation. There is a tendency when time is short to go with what people say,” she said, “and not thread the pieces together to see what’s actually going on. ... Reporters are supposed to be analysts, to synthesize it and let the public know what’s going on.” College board

While voters gave incumbent Richard Holober a fifth fouryear term in the Nov. 5 election for two seats on the board of the San Mateo County Community College District, they also cast more votes for newcomer Thomas Mohr, a former president of Canada Community College in Woodside. The two captured the seats with Mr. Mohr receiving 51,936 votes and Mr. Holober, 47,215.

The Planning Commission’s role is to oversee the Town’s General Plan together with the regulations and policies for implementing the General Plan, and to supervise land use in the Town. The commission is charged with the review and approval of conditional use permit applications, subdivisions, variances and larger site development permits pursuant to the provisions of the zoning and site development ordinances. The Planning Commission also reviews appeals of ASCC and administrative staff decisions and provides recommendations to the Town Council on legislative actions such as amendments to the Zoning Code and the General Plan. Please submit a letter of interest to the Town Council by 5pm on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 if you are interested in serving on the Planning Commission. The Town Council will conduct interviews for the position at its regularly scheduled meeting on January 8, 2014. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Karen Kristiansson, Deputy Town Planner, by email at or by phone at 650-851-1700 x212. 16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 13, 2013

Woodside council

The uncontested election for three seats on the Woodside Town Council ended predictably, with voters returning to office the three incumbent candidates: Deborah C. Gordon, Anne M. Kasten and David Tanner. Woodside elects council members by district, and there was only one candidate in each of the three districts with seats up for election. In District 2, Ms. Gordon won election to her fourth term with 612 votes. In District 4, Mr. Tanner won election to his fourth full term with 612 votes. In District 6, Ms. Kasten won with 596 votes to start her second term on the council. Election turnout

The Election Office reported that 23 percent of registered voters cast ballots in this election, and 75 percent of those were vote-by-mail ballots. A

Support The Almanac’s print and online coverage of our community.

PLANNING COMMISSION RECRUITMENT 2013 The Town Council is seeking an individual to serve on the Town’s Planning Commission for a four-year term through December 2017. The Planning Commission consists of five members appointed by the Town Council and meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month.

Two other candidates finished far back: George Yang received 13,923 votes and J. Samuel Diaz, 8,544.

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Dennistoun “Denny” Karl Brown April 9, 1957 - October 26, 2013 Denny Brown passed away while hiking near his home in Boulder, Colorado. Born in Palo Alto, he grew up in Ladera and attended Ravenswood and Gunn High Schools. Denny and his wife graduated from Stanford University and earned M.Ds. from St. Louis University School of Medicine. As a surgeon at Billings Clinic in Montana, Denny was widely respected for his clinical knowledge, technical skills and compassion for his patients. He left medical practice in 2006, moved to Boulder and became a research analyst for Nelson Roberts Investment Advisors of Palo Alto. Denny’s passion for working with his hands led him to take up guitar building as a hobby. In addition to handcrafting beautiful musical instruments, he wrote several

books about the art and sold them to guitar builders all over the world. Denny is survived by his wife of 33 years, Ann Oglesby, and four children: Connor, Alaina and Parker of Boulder and Tyler of Palo Alto. He is also survived by his mother, Anadel Law, of Palo Alto, his stepmother, Vera Lüth, of Menlo Park, siblings, David Brown (Margaret), of Danville, Jerry Brown (Sunja) of Los Altos Hills, Andy Brown of Mt. View, and Adriana Cassani, of Utah. He was predeceased by his father, Karl Brown and his stepfather, Ben Law, both of Menlo Park. A celebration of Denny’s life was held in Boulder. Donations in his memory may be made to the Stanford University Bipolar Disorders Clinic. PA I D



Skateboarding, affordable housing on PV agenda

Workshop ahead on water district’s future By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

A study session on affordable housing and a proposal to install a skateboarding ramp at Town Center are two key topics on the agenda for the Portola Valley Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Nov 13, in the Historic Schoolhouse at 765 Portola Road. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. with a 90-minute joint study session with the Planning Commission to develop an “open and participatory” public process for updating the housing chapter of the town’s general plan. The session will include workplan and schedule reviews, and discussion of priorities identi-

fied in the May 2013 report from the Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee. Also on the agenda is a proposal from the Parks & Recreation Committee to install a skateboarding ramp on the multi-use “sport court” next to the tennis courts for a 12-month trial. The sport court has in its favor a firm, flat surface and a central location, committee Chair Jon Myers said in a letter. The other locations under consideration are along Alpine Road: near the Rossotti (soccer) Field, the Ford (baseball) Field, and Corte Madera Middle School.


here is uncertainty ahead for residents within the Los Trancos County Water District. The district’s seven-year habit of spending property tax revenues to prevent wildfires, channel storm-water runoff, and preserve 5.7 acres of open space is threatened by the possible dissolution of the district. The district gave itself a new mission in 2006 after selling its water distribution system to the California Water Ser-

vice Company (Cal Water). A public workshop on the district’s future is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Portola Valley Community Hall at 765 Portola Road. The workshop’s host, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), is one regional authority that has expressed a preference for aligning the district’s mission to its activities or, failing that, dissolving it and redistributing its tax revenues — $290,000 in 2013-14 — to agencies such as San Mateo County and the local fire protection district.

A newly elected majority on the water district board has given indications that they would like to gracefully transfer the district’s specific activities to other agencies agreeing to take them over. But if those agencies are not willing to commit to that, it would “force (the water district) to stay in business. That’s not something I really want to do,” newly elected board member Charlie Krenz said in the run-up to the election. “I’m in this (race) to wind it down and secure some of these services.” A

Woman robs Menlo Park bank On Friday afternoon, Nov. 8, for the second time in 10 days, a bank in downtown Menlo Park was robbed. Police said a woman walked into the U.S. Bank in Menlo Park and, after handing the teller a note demanding money, left with an undisclosed amount of cash. The bank is at 1105 El Camino Real, next to Stacks’ restaurant at Santa Cruz Avenue, and not far from Bank of the West at 701 Santa Cruz Ave. at Curtis Street, where on Oct. 29 a woman with a similar description robbed that bank. Police acknowledge that the

suspect may be linked to that and other bank robberies in the Bay Area. Witnesses to the U.S. Bank robbery, which occurred around 1:46 p.m., described her as a Hispanic or Pacific Islander woman in her mid-30s with dark hair in a ponytail. She wore a grey sweatshirt, jeans and a baseball cap. In both cases, no weapon was seen and no one was injured, police said. Police ask that anyone with information about these robberies call investigators at 3306300. — Sandy Brundage


The online guide to Menlo Park businesses Visit today


PUBLIC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, pursuant to Government Code section 40804 requiring a summary of the Town’s Financial Transactions report to be published in a newspaper of general circulation. The Cities Financial Transactions Report is available for public inspection; for additional information please contact the Town Clerk.

Summary of Expenditures and Functional Revenues: General Government Public Safety Transportation Community Develepment Culture and Leisure

Expenditures $1,749,819 923,138 855,504 887,874 276,416



The Architectural and Site Review Board reviews and makes recommendations to the Planning Director on residential, site design and commercial applications. Meetings are held on the first and third Monday of each month, 4:30 p.m. Appointment is for an unexpired term through February 2017. Interested residents may request information and applications Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.12 noon and 1-5:00 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office, 2955 Woodside Road, by telephone at (650) 851-6790, or through the Town’s web site at Deadline for applications is Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 5:00 p.m.

Functional Revenues $6,602 103,652 401,800 3,733,266 360,179

Net Expenditures $1,743,217 819,487 453,704 (2,845,392) (83,763)

$4,605,498 General Revenues: Taxes Licenses & Permits Fines and forfeitures Revenue from Use of Money and Property Intergovernmental Revenue – State Other Total

$87,253 $4,196,616 3,150 12,512 13,205 7,838 139,417 $4,372,738

Excess of general revenue Over Expenditures fund Balance Working Capital as of 7/1/12 Fund Balance Working Capital as of 6/30/13 Total Appropriation Limit Appropriation Subject to Limit

$4,285,485 $6,676,640 $10,962,125 $2,862,303 $2,746,856

This summary report is published pursuant to California State Government Code § 40804. A copy of the full report is on file at Town Hall, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley, California. Sharon Hanlon Clerk of the Town of Portola Valley Dated: November 4, 2013 November 13, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17

Serving Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside for 47 years.



EDITOR & PUBLISHER Tom Gibboney (223-6507) NEWSROOM Managing Editor Richard Hine (223-6525) News Editor Renee Batti (223-6582) Lifestyles Editor Jane Knoerle (223-6531) Staff Writers Dave Boyce (223-6527), Sandy Brundage (223-6529) Contributors Marjorie Mader, Barbara Wood, Kate Daly Special Sections Editor Carol Blitzer Photographer Michelle Le (223-6530) DESIGN & PRODUCTION Design Director Shannon Corey (223-6560) Assistant Design Director Lili Cao Designers Linda Atilano, Rosanna Leung, Paul Llewellyn, Scott Peterson, Kameron Sawyer ADVERTISING Vice President Sales and Marketing Tom Zahiralis (223-6570) Display Advertising Sales Wendy Suzuki (223-6569) Real Estate Manager Neal Fine (223-6583) Real Estate & Advertising Coordinator Diane Martin (223-6584) Legal Advertising Alicia Santillan (223-6578) Published every Wednesday at 3525 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025 Newsroom: (650) 223-6525 Newsroom Fax: (650) 223-7525 Advertising: (650) 854-2626 Advertising Fax: (650) 223-7570 Email news and photos with captions to: Email letters to: The Almanac, established in October 1965, is delivered each week to residents of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside and adjacent unincorporated areas of southern San Mateo County. The Almanac is qualified by decree of the Superior Court of San Mateo County to publish public notices of a governmental and legal nature, as stated in Decree No. 147530, issued December 21, 1969. ©2013 by Embarcadero Media Company. All rights reserved. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

■ WHAT’S YOUR VIEW? All views must include a home address and contact phone number. Published letters will also appear on the web site,, and occasionally on the Town Square forum.

Town Square forum Post your views on the Town Square forum at www.TheAlmanacOnline. com Email your views to: and note this it is a letter to the editor in the subject line. Mail


or deliver to: Editor at the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025. the Viewpoint desk at 223-6507.

Another huge project beckons in Menlo Park


ust as some Menlo Park City Council members were surprised the company’s housing plans — which will feature 215 mostly when Stanford sought approval to develop its entire 8-acre smaller apartments with an average size of 825 square feet. The holding at 700 El Camino, rather than build several smaller mix will include 144 studio or one-bedroom units, 64 two- bedprojects, another development is moving forward with a plan to room units and seven units with three bedrooms. Greenheart’s build an equally large housing, office and retail complex on the vision for the site begins with the hope that its smaller units will combined 7-acre site of the former Cadillac dealership at 1300 El attract young workers who might liven up the nightlife scene in Camino and the Derry family holding on Oak Grove Avenue. Menlo Park. The plan is to use the allotted ground floor retail With its corner site, stucco finish and red tile roofs, the Green- space fronting on El Camino and Oak Grove to entice destinaheart development appears less massive than the Stanford/Arril- tion restaurants, food shops and other appealing venues. laga proposal for 700 El Camino Real, although in total it adds It remains to be seen how Greenheart will fare with the City up to 210,000 square feet of office space and another 210,000 Council and the vocal core of residents, including those with square feet of housing and retail space. The Save Menlo, who have protested the Stanford/ Stanford/Arrillaga proposal, about 200,000 Arrillaga project. The developers have carefully EDI TORI AL square feet of office space and 170 units of drawn both projects to conform to the new The opinion of The Almanac housing, adds up to 413,000 to 459,000 square downtown specific plan, which has been under feet of space in a group of three- and four-story review at the Planning Commission and will buildings, with some floors stepped back from El Camino. It size reach the council in a few weeks. So far, despite strong criticism and density has generated a significant amount of protest from from Save Menlo and other residents charging that the new plan some Menlo Park residents. gives far too much away to developers, it is not anticipated that Those disappointed in the Stanford project are concerned either body will suggest massive changes to the specific plan. about parking and traffic impacts, as well as drivers hoping The Greenheart project expects to qualify for a public benefit to avoid congestion around the Stanford/Arrillaga buildings bonus, which will be negotiated with the city. The Stanford cutting through neighborhood streets. In a conciliatory move, development does not require a public benefit. Stanford has agreed to pay for a traffic impact study and said it All of this adds up to the expectation that several large eyesore will help fund a bike-pedestrian tunnel under the railroad tracks properties — vacant car dealerships on El Camino Real and the at Middle Avenue that would provide access to Burgess Park and Derry site off Oak Grove Avenue — may soon become home to City Hall. buildings that will house hundreds of office workers and new Since it was revealed last week in the Almanac, the public is residents. invited to comment on the Greenheart project, which would be The best the city can hope for now is that local government a short walk from the Menlo Park train station. No definitive leaders carefully scrutinize every detail of the specific plan, which studies showing the impact of traffic have been conducted on could be changed if a majority of the council agrees. But unless either project. Both projects plan to build underground garages that happens, the projects conform to the new plan and will be to provide parking for the majority of the vehicles used by apart- given the OK to proceed with building a combined 800,000-plus ment owners and office workers. square feet of mixed-use development that is certain to have a Greenheart principal Steve Pierce provided some detail on lasting impact on the city and nearby neighborhoods.

L ET TERS Our readers write

Cops’ video cameras a worrisome tool Editor: The fall issue of Menlo Focus, a city newsletter, describes a worrisome new surveillance program being implemented by the Menlo Park Police Department. The new VIEVU body video camera recorders to be used by local police officers “will be used to capture law enforcement related contacts a police officer makes” throughout the workday. This program is clearly intimidating and places the public at a disadvantage — see the photo on page 7 of the newsletter. Will police officers provide a Miranda-type warning at each encounter? Some cautionary statement would seem to be appropriate as “the video footage will allow for more efficient documentation of

Portola Valley Archives

Our Regional Heritage Before there was the Ladera we know today, the La Siesta ranch occupied the hilly landscape that was dotted with blue, valley and live oak trees. Frank and Mary Ann Burke raised prize-winning horses and cattle on the ranch and lived in this elegant home that stood between the ends of North Balsamina and North Castanya in the last two decades of the 19th century.

police reports, assist in the prosecution of criminal cases. ...” With all the current publicity

18NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNNovember 13, 2013

about the federal government’s high-tech monitoring, it is ironic that the Menlo Park city government authorized such

invasive tactics in our community. Joanna Martin White Oak Court, Menlo Park

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and people in need

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula

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Provides after-school and academic support and activities for 1,750 at-risk K-12 youth at nine locations in Menlo Park and the North Fair Oaks neighborhood of Redwood City. Members attend at least twice a week during the academic year and receive essential tutoring, mentoring, and academic support.

The largest collector and distributor of food on the Peninsula, Second Harvest Food Bank distributed 52 million pounds of food last year. It gathers donations from individuals and businesses and distributes food to more than 250,000 people each month through more than 770 agencies and distribution sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

year, Almanac readers and founda-

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tions contributed $162,000 for the 10

Provides emergency food, clothing, household essentials, and sometimes financial assistance to families in need, regardless of religious preference, including Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for more than 2,000 households.

agencies that feed the hungry, house the homeless and provide numerous other services to those in need. Contributions to the Holiday Fund will be matched, to the extent possible, by generous community corpo-

Project Read Provides free literacy services to adults in the Menlo Park area. Trained volunteers work one-on-one to help adults improve their basic reading, writing and English language skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, at work and in the community. Volunteers also help students acquire basic keyboard and computer skills.

InnVision Shelter Network Provides shelter/housing and supportive services across 18 sites in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula. Serves thousands of homeless families and individuals annually on their path back to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

StarVista Serves more than 32,000 people throughout San Mateo County, including children, young people, families with counseling, prevention, early intervention, education, and residential programs. StarVista also provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services including a 24-hour suicide crisis hotline, an alcohol and drug helpline, and a parent support hotline.

rations, foundations and individuals,

Ravenswood Family Health Center

including the Rotary Club of Menlo

Provides primary medical and preventive health care for all ages at its clinics in Belle Haven and East Palo Alto. It also operates a mobile clinic at school sites. Of the more than 16,000 registered patients, most are low-income and uninsured and live in the ethnically diverse East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks areas.

Fair Oaks Community Center

vid and Lucile Packard Foundation.

St. Anthonyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Padua Dining Room

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Serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week to people in need who walk through the doors. Funded entirely by voluntary contributions, St. AnthonyĂ­s is the largest dining room for the needy between San Francisco and San Jose. It also offers emergency food and clothing assistance.

The mission of Teen Talk Sexuality Education is to provide sciencebased comprehensive educational programs to youth and adults to help teens make the healthy choices that will result in lower rates of teen pregnancy and STD/HIV in the community.

Park Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Da-

ducted from the gifts, which are taxdeductible as permitted by law.

Provides housing and food assistance, emergency shelter referral, legal services, a childcare program, older adult nutrition, and lowcost exercise programs for youth and adults.

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Please make checks payable to: Silicon Valley Community Foundation Send coupon and check, if applicable to: The Almanac Holiday Fund c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation 224 West El Camino Real, Suite 300 Mountain View, CA 94040 The Almanac Holiday Fund is a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. A contribution to this fund allows your donation to be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

November 13, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN19

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